Restaurant Unstoppable with Eric Cacciatore

After a 20 year run as Executive Chef and Director of Operations at Z'Tejas restaurant chain, Jack Gilmore and Tom Kamm , decided to strike out on their own, opening Jack Allen’s Kitchen in late 2009. 10 years later they've scaled the Jack Allen's concept into 4 locations. Additionally, they've created Salt Traders Coastal Cooking in 2016, which is about to open its second location later this year. Today, Gilmore and Kamm are among the most respected names in Austin's culinary scene, not only for what they've accomplished with their restaurants, but also for the work they've done in their community.

Show notes…

Favorite success quote or mantra:

 "Have fun. Do what you do."

"Surround yourself with great people. It makes life a lot easier." 

In this episode with Jack Gilmore and Tom Kamm, we discuss: 

  • How Jack and Tom got their start in the restaurant industry. 
  • The simple power looking someone in the eye and smiling has. 
  • What passion is; giving a shit. 
  • Going into new situations with the intention to learn. 
  • Leveraging a servers logs. 
  • Being willing to learn from you mistakes. 
  • Being mindful of how you address your employees. Ask yourself, "Would I let someone talk to one of my loved ones like this?"
  • How Jack Groomed his son for a successful career. 
  • How you cannot be successful in this industry, unless you have support from your family.  
  • Why who you know is more powerful than a solid business plan. 
  • The importance of having key players on your team early on and how Jack and Tom got their key players. 
  • Why integrity is so important. Do what you say. Say what you do. 
  • Checking your ego at the door. 
  • Trusting the people you've surrounded yourself with to make the right decision. 
  • Growing your people before growing your physical locations.  
  • Jack and Tom's strategy for growth, specifically when determining locations. 
  • The role systems have with scaling. 
  • How to motivate your team without being aggressive. 
  • How good training influences motivation. 

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  1. Which "it factor" habit, trait, or characteristic you believe most contributes to your success?
    • Passion.
  2. What is your biggest weakness?
    • Jack: Organization.
    • Tom: Saying no. 
  3. What's one question you ask or thing you look for during an interview
    • Likability 
  4. Share one code of conduct or behavior you teach your team.
    • Be a team player. 
  5. What is one uncommon standard of service you teach your staff?
    • If something, anything goes wrong, no one gets in trouble, but you HAVE to tell a manager so the restaurant can make it right. 
  6. What's the one thing you feel restaurateurs don't know well enough or do often enough?
    • They don't listen to their guest.
    • They don't eat in their own restaurants. 
    • Make it easy to take guest money. 
  7. What's one piece of technology you've adopted within your four walls restaurant and how has it influence operations?
    • a restaurant management system that is hooked into your reservation system. They use Restaurant Connect
  8. If you got the news that you'd be leaving this world tomorrow and all memories of you, your work, and your restaurants would be lost with your departure with the exception of 3 pieces of wisdom you could leave behind for the good of humanity, what would they be?
    1. Surround yourself with great people.
    2. Be humble.
    3. Stick with what sticks. 
    4. Leave the community better than when you entered it.  

Contact info:


Thanks for listening!

Thanks so much for joining today! Have some feedback you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comment section below!

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Huge thanks to Jack Gilmore & Tom Kamm for joining me for another awesome episode. Until next time!


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Direct download: 593_jack_and_Tom__mixdown.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:30am EDT